I have my opinions, but I enjoy a good argument, both verbal and written; so I read material written by people I already know I’m going to disagree with on just about everything..  I just discovered a blog on scienceblogs.com called “Pharyngula“.  It’s certainly entertaining, but what struck me is how little reasoning there is on the site (or at least the posts I read, which was a fraction of all the content), but rather mostly name-calling.  

Take, for example: Texas has a problem.

According to the survey he cites, Texas is ranked last in high-school graduation rates.  I’m perfectly willing to accept that claim as fact.  The point of his post, though, was to go after the integrity of people who advocate creation instruction in science curriculum.  This isn’t unique, obviously, but it always strikes me as odd, really.  Why is it that creationists are necessarily “poison”, intent on “crippling” and “twisting” the minds of our (because I am Texan) children?  Oh, for the sake of the children!  Why can’t creationists just be advocating bad science?  Bad math is taught in schools across the country (don’t get me started on math education), but you don’t see hordes of seething mathematicians descending from Mount Olympus in a crusade to “fight” it with name-calling, do you?

I understand this medium lends itself to that kind of style, but it’s just a basic matter of humility and civility to not denigrate people simply because they disagree with you, regardless of the objective merit of their position.

The other “off” thing about this post was that it was about graduation rates, to begin with.  I just don’t see the link between graduation rates and having a creationist as the chair of the board of education (or curriculum at all).  To my mind, graduation rates are much more likely to have a strong correlation to demographic data,  like the percentage of all births to unmarried women (38.5% in 2006, according to this).

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